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Affordable Health Care For America Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.


Mr. LINDER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Six weeks ago, we stood on this floor to discuss a prior version of this bill providing extended unemployment benefits. Since then, we have gotten additional checkups on jobs and unemployment in the United States, and the Democrats' 2009 stimulus plan has received more failing grades. Another 263,000 jobs were eliminated in September, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent. More job losses and higher unemployment are expected to be announced tomorrow. This and other Democrat legislation is perpetuating unemployment, not solving it.

The Democratic energy policies would increase the price of energy and kill millions of jobs. The Democrat health policies would make health care and health insurance more expensive and kill millions of jobs. Democrats promised a stimulus policy that would keep unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. It is now 9.8 percent, soon to reach 10 percent. Despite administration claims that 1 million jobs were saved or created, nearly 3 million real jobs have been destroyed since the stimulus plan was signed into law, and yesterday we found out how they count saved jobs.

Stimulus money went to a south Georgia community organizing group. They took all the money and gave raises to their employees and put information into the administration that they had saved 980 jobs. They have 508 employees. But they gave them raises, and the administration has a formula for how you can call that a job saved.

Like those job losses, the bill before us has only grown. In all, this legislation would now make available a record 99 weeks of unemployment benefits in more than half of the United States, but what it doesn't make available are jobs. Americans are rightly asking, Where are the jobs? Our colleagues on the other side have no answers, other than to spend more, tax more, and borrow more. That is not good enough.

But the good news is that we can start to turn this around. For starters, we could not raise taxes on jobs, as this legislation does. It raises taxes on jobs by $2.4 billion in the coming 18 months, hitting every employee in America, and that's to pay for benefits paid out generally in the next 2 months. How does raising taxes create jobs? It won't. And this bill isn't the end. Far from it.

Before this year is out, we will be back on this floor passing yet another extension of Federal unemployment benefits, only the next bill will be so massive--possibly costing $80 billion--even Democrats won't be able to stomach the tax hikes to pay for it. So we will borrow that money, adding to the $100 billion in unemployment benefit spending already scheduled to be piled onto our debt by the end of this year. How will that create jobs? It won't.

Mr. Speaker, we can and must do better. It is well past time for us to shelve Democratic job-killing tax hike agendas. We will then unleash America's job creation engine so that laid-off workers can once again earn paychecks, not unemployment checks.

That effort can start with not raising taxes on jobs and by offering unemployed workers real help in finding new work instead of just more benefit checks. Sadly, this bill does none of that. How then will it create jobs? It won't.


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